EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document 51998PC0440

Proposal for a Council Decision concerning the conclusion on behalf of the European Community, as regards matters within its competence, of the results of the World Trade Organisation negotiations on financial services

/* COM/98/0440 final - CNS 98/0239 */

OJ C 271, 31.8.1998, p. 1 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)

51998PC0440

Proposal for a Council Decision concerning the conclusion on behalf of the European Community, as regards matters within its competence, of the results of the World Trade Organisation negotiations on financial services /* COM/98/0440 final - CNS 98/0239 */

Official Journal C 271 , 31/08/1998 P. 0001


Proposal for a Council Decision concerning the conclusion on behalf of the European Community, as regards matters within its competence, of the results of the World Trade Organisation negotiations on financial services (98/C 271/01) COM(98) 440 final - 98/0239 (CNS)

(submitted by the Commission on 14 July 1998)

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Articles 54, 57, 63, 66 73b to 73f, 99, 100, 100a and 113, in conjunction with the second sentence of Article 228 (2) and the first subparagraph of Article 228 (3) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament,

Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee,

Whereas the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation and its related agreements as well as the Ministerial Decisions and Declarations and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services were approved by a Council Decision of 22 December 1994;

Whereas the overall commitments on financial services negotiated by the Commission, on behalf of the European Community and its Member States, constitute a satisfactory and balanced outcome of the negotiations;

Whereas on 12 December 1997 the Council approved, subject to definitive approval after completion of internal procedures, the final schedule of commitments of the European Communities and its Member States (GATS/SC/31/Suppl.4), and authorised the Commission to submit that list, on behalf of the European Community and its Member States, to the WTO;

Whereas on the same date the Council authorised the Commission to approve, on behalf of the European Community and its Member States, the final result of the negotiations as set out in the in the Fifth Protocol to the GATS (S/L/45), the Decision adopting that Protocol (S/L/44) and the Decision on Commitments in Financial Services (S/L/50);

Whereas the competence of the Community to conclude international agreements derives not only from explicit conferral by the Treaty but may also derive from other provisions of the Treaty and from Acts adopted pursuant to those provisions by Community institutions;

Whereas, where Community rules have been adopted in order to achieve the aims of the Treaty, Member States may not, outside the framework of the common institutions, enter into commitments liable to affect those rules or alter their scope;

Whereas some commitments on financial services fall within the competence of the Community under Articles 113 and 73c of the Treaty; whereas, furthermore, other commitments on financial services affect Community rules adopted on the basis of Articles 54, 57, 63, 66, 99, 100 and 100a and may therefore only be entered into by the Community alone;

Whereas, in particular, the use of Article 100 of the Treaty as a legal base for this Decision is justified to the extent that the aforementioned commitments on financial services affect Council Directive 90/434/EEC of 23 July 1990 on the common system of taxation applicable to mergers, divisions, transfers of assets and exchanges of shares concerning companies of different Member States and Council Directive 90/435/EEC of 23 July 1990 on the common system of taxation applicable in the case of parent companies and subsidiaries of different Member States, which are based on Article 100 of the Treaty;

Whereas, with regard to capital movement commitments contained in the list of specific commitments of the Community and of the Member States and in the present state of Community law, there is a general competence of the Community; whereas Member States however remain competent to act within the limits laid down by the provisions of Article 73c of the Treaty;

Whereas, by their nature, the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation and the Protocols to the General Agreement on Trade in Services, are not likely to be directly invoked before the Community or Member States' courts,

HAS DECIDED AS FOLLOWS:

Sole Article

1. The Fifth Protocol to the General Agreement on Trade in Services concerning financial services (S/L/45) is hereby approved on behalf of the European Community with regard to that portion of it which falls within the competence of the European Community.

2. The text of the Fifth Protocol, together with the schedule of specific commitments (GATS/SC/31/Suppl.4) and the list of the exemptions from Article II of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS/EL/31) of the Community and the Member States concerning financial services are attached to this Decision, as are also the following Decisions:

- the Decision of the Committee on Trade on Financial Services adopting the Fifth Protocol to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (S/L/44),

- the Decision of the Council for Trade in Services of December 1997 on Commitments in Financial Services (S/L/50),

3. The President of the Council is hereby authorised to designate the person empowered to sign the Fifth Protocol to the General Agreement on Trade in Services in order to bind the European Community with regard to that portion of the Protocol falling within its competence.

FIFTH PROTOCOL TO THE GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TRADE IN SERVICES

Members of the World Trade Organisation (hereinafter referred to as the 'WTO`) whose Schedules of Specific Commitments and Lists of Exemptions from Article II of the General Agreement on Trade in Services concerning financial services are annexed to this Protocol (hereinafter referred to as 'Members concerned`),

HAVING carried out negotiations under the terms of the second Decision on financial services adopted by the Council for Trade in Services on 21 July 1995 (S/L/9),

AGREE as follows:

1. A Schedule of Specific Commitments and a List of Exemptions from Article II concerning financial services annexed to this Protocol relating to a Member shall, on the entry into force of this Protocol for that Member, replace the financial services sections of the Schedule of Specific Commitments and the List of Article II Exemptions of that Member.

2. This Protocol shall be open for acceptance, by signature or otherwise, by the Members concerned until 29 January 1999.

3. This Protocol shall enter into force on the 30th day following the date of its acceptance by all Members concerned. If by 30 January 1999, it has not been accepted by all Members concerned, those Members which have accepted it before that date may, within a period of 30 days thereafter, decide on its entry into force.

4. This Protocol shall be deposited with the Director-General of the WTO. The Director-General of the WTO shall promptly furnish to each Member of the WTO a certified copy of this Protocol and notifications of acceptances thereof pursuant to paragraph 3.

5. This Protocol shall be registered in accordance with the provisions of Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.

Done at Geneva this twenty-seventh day of February one thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight, in a single copy in English, French and Spanish languages, each text being authentic, except as otherwise provided for in respect of the Schedules annexed hereto.

EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES AND THEIR MEMBER STATES Schedule of Specific Commitments Supplement 4 (Only the English, French and Spanish texts are authentic)

This text replaces the Financial Services section contained in document GATS/SC/31/Suppl. 1/Rev.1.

EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES AND THEIR MEMBER STATES SCHEDULE OF SPECIFIC COMMITMENTS

Modes of supply: (1) Cross-border supply (2) Consumption abroad (3) Commercial presence (4) Presence of natural persons

>TABLE>

ADDITIONAL COMMITMENTS BY THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES AND THEIR MEMBER STATES

Insurance

(a) The European Communities and their Member States note the close cooperation among the insurance regulatory and supervisory authorities of the Member States and encourage their efforts to promote improved supervisory standards.

(b) Member States will make their best endeavours to consider, within six months, complete applications for licences to conduct direct insurance underwriting business, through the establishment in a Member State of a subsidiary in accordance with the legislation of that Member State, by an undertaking governed by the laws of a non-member country. In cases where such applications are refused, the Member State authority will make its best endeavours to notify the undertaking in question and give the reasons for the refusal of the application.

(c) The supervisory authorities of the Member States will make their best endeavours to respond without undue delay to requests for information by applicants on the status of complete applications for licences to conduct direct insurance underwriting business, through the establishment in a Member State of a subsidiary in accordance with the legislation of that Member State by an undertaking governed by the laws of a non-member country.

(d) The European Communities and their Member States will make their best endeavours to examine any questions pertaining to the smooth operation of the internal market in insurance, and consider any issues that might have an impact on the internal market in insurance.

(e) The European Communities and their Member States note that, as regards motor insurance, under Community law as in force at 31 December 1997, and without prejudice to future legislation, premiums may be calculated taking several risk factors into account.

(f) The European Communities and their Member States note that under Community law, as in force at 31 December 1997, and without prejudice to future legislation, the prior approval by national supervisory authorities of policy conditions and scales of premiums that an insurance undertaking intends to use is generally not required.

(g) The European Communities and their Member States note that under Community law, as in force at 31 December 1997, and without prejudice to future legislation, the prior approval by national supervisory authorities of increases in premium rates is generally not required.

Other financial services

(a) In application of the relevant EC Directives, Member States will make their best endeavours to consider, within 12 months, complete applications for licences to conduct banking activities, through the establishment in a Member State of a subsidiary in accordance with the legislation of that Member State, by an undertaking governed by the laws of a non-member country. In cases where such applications are refused, the Member State will make its best endeavours to notify the undertaking in question and give the reasons for the refusal of the application.

(b) Member States will make their best endeavours to respond without undue delay to requests for information by applicants on the status of complete applications for licences to conduct banking activities, through the establishment in a Member State of a subsidiary in accordance with the legislation of that Member State, by an undertaking governed by the laws of a non-member country.

(c) In application of the relevant EC Directives, Member States will make their best endeavours to consider within six months complete applications for licences to conduct investment services in the securities field, as defined in the Investment Services Directive, through the establishment in a Member State of a subsidiary in accordance with the legislation of that Member State, by an undertaking governed by the laws of a non-member country. In cases where such applications are refused, the Member State will make its best endeavours to notify the undertaking in question and give the reasons for the refusal of the application.

(d) Member States will make their best endeavours to respond without undue delay to requests for information by applicants on the status of complete applications for licences to conduct investment services in the securities area, through the establishment in a Member State of a subsidiary in accordance with the legislation of that Member State, by an undertaking governed by the laws of a non-member country.

EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES AND THEIR MEMBER STATES

>TABLE>

DECISION ADOPTING THE FIFTH PROTOCOL TO THE GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TRADE IN SERVICES

Adopted by the Committee on Trade in Financial Services on 14 November 1997

THE COMMITTEE ON TRADE IN FINANCIAL SERVICES,

HAVING regard to the results of the negotiations conducted under the terms of the second Decision on Financial Services adopted by the Council for Trade in Services on 21 July 1995 (S/L/9),

DECIDES as follows:

1. To adopt the text of the fifth Protocol to the General Agreement on Trade in Services.

2. Commencing immediately and continuing until the date of entry into force of the fifth Protocol to the General Agreement on Trade in Services, Members concerned shall, to the fullest extent consistent with their existing legislation, not take measures which would be inconsistent with their undertakings resulting from these negotiations.

3. The Committee shall monitor the acceptance of the Protocol by Members concerned and shall, at the request of a Member, examine any concerns raised regarding the application of paragraph 2.

DECISION OF DECEMBER 1997 ON COMMITMENTS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES

Adopted by the Council for Trade in Services on 12 December 1997

THE COUNCIL FOR TRADE IN SERVICES,

HAVING regard to the second Decision on Financial Services adopted by the Council for Trade in Services on 21 July 1995 (S/L/9),

NOTING the results of the negotiations carried out under the terms of that Decision,

HAVING regard to the Decision adopting the fifth Protocol to the General Agreement on Trade in Services adopted by the Committee on Trade in Financial Services on 14 November 1997 (S/L/44),

DECIDES as follows:

1. If the fifth Protocol to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) does not enter into force in accordance with paragraph 3 therein:

(a) Notwithstanding Article XXI of the GATS, a Member may for a period of 60 days beginning on 1 March 1999, modify or withdraw all or part of the commitments on financial services inscribed in its Schedule.

(b) Notwithstanding Article II of the GATS and paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Annex to Article II 'Exemptions`, a Member may, for the same period referred to in paragraph 1(a), list in that Annex measures relating to financial services which are inconsistent with paragraph 1 of Article II of the GATS.

2. The Committee on Trade in Financial Services shall establish any procedures necessary for the implementation of paragraph 1.

Top